Miss Ruth in the Valley 3

Dance
Above, Ruth St. Denis, featured in a newspaper feature story on elderly fitness, strikes a Denishawn pose for a photographer. Verso text: “Pictured are Frankie Van, owner of Frankie Van’s Health Club, 3717 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City, along with famous modern dancer Ruth St. Denis. Ms. Denis once lived in the Valley and operated ...

Gwen calls out Bob’s choreography in Gap commercial 2

Dance
In a 1999 interview, Gwen Verdon (1925 – 2000) expressed mild exasperation at the use of choreography by Bob Fosse (1927 – 1987) in a commercial by The Gap. “It’s very interesting that right now there is “Go Go Khaki,” a commercial for The Gap. They are doing the Frug. It’s amazing. They are not ...

Go Grover! Grover Dale does the boogaloo in ‘The Landlord’

Dance · Film
I so enjoyed seeing “The Landlord” (1970), Hal Ashby’s maiden voyage as a film director, screened at TCM Fest 2017. One of those rambling and intriguing seventies movies that is so direct, so real, and wearing its heart on its sleeve. As the credits rolled, an added bonus — the name of arts·meme friend, Grover ...

Gwen falls for Fred, but he does not fall back

Dance
From an interview with James Heneghan, son of the great Gwen Verdon … remembers James: “We were walking down the street in Beverly Hills, and I was walking next to my Mom. I was grown up.” “All of a sudden she fell off the curb and landed on the front of a car! “I said, ...

Dance double to Merle Oberon

Dance · Film
A revealing story captured in a comprehensive oral history conducted for the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, in 2003, with George and Ethel Martin, the two great Jack Cole dancers. Ethel kicks it off, with a small assist from her husband. Ethel: Jack [Cole] told me, ‘I know Kenny [Williams]’. He was ...

Georgeous & Rita-licious

Dance · Fashion · Film
As Oscar Sunday approaches, we turn to the year when two beautiful young singer/dancers both won Academy Awards for West Side Story. George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respective winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, appeared stunningly beautiful at the ceremony  April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is ...

The two Georges: Balanchine & Chakiris

Dance · Film
Okay, it’s a stretch! But bend-and-stretch is what dance is all about, isn’t it? Still, we were delighted to trip upon an amazing comparison, in a book review/essay by one of our premier dance writers, Joan Acocella. Publishing in The New Yorker magazine (“Balanchine Teaching” January 11, 2017), the critic/dance historian, in describing George Balanchine’s ...

Dance & film co-mingle for a happy 2017

Dance · Film
We’re ringing in a Happy New Year with a movie friend, Rudolf Nureyev, who stars in the Ken Russell biopic, “Valentino” (1977). Nureyev looks smart, doesn’t he, in his tuxedo pictured (above) alongside his festooned co-star, actress Carol Kane. But I also enjoy seeing Rudi sans tux — casbah-style — putting the iron grip on ...

Seeking Jack Cole at the Rainbow Room

Architecture & Design · Dance · Music
It was a lovely holiday event, a swellegant affair. First Republic Bank of New York, generous supporters of myriad arts organizations, threw a reception at the Rainbow Room high atop Rockefeller Center. Rocking the Room were the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, whose youthful big-band sound boomed beneath the clatter of cocktailers while the crazy ...

Busby Berkeley brings it to Bette Davis in ‘Fashions of 1934’

Dance · Film
A great dance movie starring Bette Davis. Who knew? Apparently Film Forum director of repertory programming, Bruce Goldstein, did. He programmed FASHIONS OF 1934, smart and smashing in a 35mm print and preserved by Library of Congress, as part of Film Forum’s recent nine-day Busby Berkeley festival. It’s a really good movie, well acted and ...